NEW DELHI: On Sunday, senior lawyer of the Supreme Court, Ashwini Upadhayay writes a letter seeking an appointment to discuss the ongoing challenges that the country is facing these days. In his letter to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, highlights the burning issues i.e. population explosion is the main cause of all laying issues in the country, which must be addressed at the earliest.
The PIL Man, ‘Ashwini Upadhayay’ cites the latest statement coming in from health ministry stating that the legislation on the controlling population is not the central’s subject. While the 42nd amendment of the constitution in 1976 clearly says that centre and state both can work upon it. As per the statics over 125 crores people having the Aadhar number already, which also included illegal migrants and Rohingyas. Therefore, the current bandwidth is not limited to 125 crores, rather it could be over 150 crores, which is the matter of great concerns for the country.
The country has already having several challenges ahead – lack of drinking water, unemployment lodging, fooding, quality health and education. If the population is continued to float the way it has been happening, it will have a severe implication for future generation and even now.
According to him, increasing population of the country is the biggest challenge, and it needed to be resolved at the earliest. To precise this, he also files PIL in the Supreme Court, where the central government has submitted its response in the Supreme Court stating it is “unequivocally” against forcing people to have only a certain number of children in a bid to control population.
On Upadhyay’s plea to issue necessary directive to the state governments, the MoHFW has said no such directions can be issued since “public health” is a state subject, and it is the prerogative of the respective state government to implement the schemes envisaged by the Central government as per the prescribed guidelines.
Besides this, the MoHFW has sought dismissal of Upadhyay’s petition, stating that the central government cannot introduce or encourage authoritative or legislative methods to control population. “The Family Welfare Programme in India is voluntary in nature, which enables couples to decide the size of their family and adopt the family planning methods, best suited to them, according to their choice, without any compulsion,” said the ministry’s affidavit.
It said India was a signatory to the Programme Of Action (POA) of the International Conference on Population and Development, 1994, which was unequivocally against coercion in family planning. “In fact, international experience shows that any coercion to have a certain number of children is counter-productive and leads to demographic distortions,” the ministry explained.
It further pointed out that there has been a constant decline in the total fertility rate (TFR), suggesting that couples do not want more than two children in the family. The affidavit also placed reliance on the Census data of 2001-2011 to demonstrate the sharpest decline in decadal growth rate among Indians in 100 years.
“2001-2011 was the first decade in the last 100 years which had not only added lesser population as compared to the previous one, but also registered the sharpest decline in the decadal growth rate from 21.54% in 1991-2001 to 17.64% in 2001-2011″, it emphasised.
The ministry said the TFR, which was 3.2 at the time when National Population Policy 2000 was adopted, has declined substantially to 2.2 as per Sample Registration System of 2018.
“The wanted fertility in India as per National Family Health Survey IV is only 1.8 as against the actual fertility of 2.2 prevailing at that time, indicating thereby that couples on an average do not want more than two children. Also, as many as 25 out of 36 States/UTs have already achieved the replacement level fertility of 2.1 or less,” added the MoHFW.
However, Ashwini Upadhyay is of the views that the recommendations of (Justice Venkatachaliah Commission) was not fully implemented which is the need of the hour. If Bajpayee government would have re-elected in 2004, the same must have brought in for the discussion and something concreate could have come out from, Upadhyay says in the letter to PM Mod.